Criticising the referee after your team lose is the easy way out, but I was always one to take the path of least resistance, so here goes!
At the end of the commentary on Tuesday's match I described Darren Drysdale's performance as the worst I'd seen at The Racecourse in thirty years of supporting Wrexham. It was the sort of rash thing you say on the spur of the moment without thinking it through. However, having sat down in the cold light of day and weighed it all up, it turns out I was right!
Errors of judgement are natural, but when everybody groans at the identity of the referee before the match and he then goes and performs like that you really have to wonder!
Let me make one thing perfectly clear; I am not accusing Darren Drysdale of cheating, or even of a conscious bias against us. However, when he has constantly been given grief every time he takes one of our matches, he might well build up an unconscious aversion to us. The fact that our complaints against him have tended to be justified makes no difference.
Mister Drysdale has been in charge of our games twice before. In August 2005 he sent Simon Spender off as we lost 1-0 at home to Carlisle, and United scored the winner from the subsequent free kick, but that was nothing compared to his earlier masterpiece!
In March 2005 we led 2-1 at Swindon before Mister Drysdale took a hand, giving a daft free kick from which the home team equalised with less than fifteen minutes left, then awarding an equally laughable penalty to allow Sam Parkin to complete a hat trick and condemn us to a cruel defeat.
That's three of our games he has reffed. We've lost them all and in at least two of them his decisions have been the decisive factor! They do say that if you don't notice the ref he's had a good game; I wish someone would tell Drysdale!
In Italy clubs were able to refuse to have particular referees officiate their matches. This is obviously open to corruption as referees try to please the big clubs rather than be blackballed from their matches. However, I wish the Football League might consider keeping Drysdale away from us, for the good of all concerned.
Still look on the bright side. Tomorrow's referee is Colin Webster, and we've done rather better under him. We've won five of the nine games we've played under him, including the 5-3 win at Oldham in the LDV Vans Trophy Northern Final, on our way to winning the cup. He also took a 2-1 derby win at Tranmere in 2003 and away wins at Macclesfield and Hull on the way to promotion the previous season. Furthermore, he's never felt the urge to send one of our players off! Let's hope he keeps it up!